Jury begin deliberations in Kanturk manslaughter case

The jury have begun their deliberations in the case of a 28-year-old Kanturk man accused of unlawfully killing a 65-year-old local man by giving him a single punch at a bar in the town in 2016.

The jury of three women and nine men will resume their deliberations tomorrow morning at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin sent them home after they had deliberated for just over one hour.

Finbarr Lehane died in hospital a fortnight after being struck at the Stand Bar in Kanturk after midnight on October 23/24, 2016. Jonathan O’Sullivan from Kanturk, but now living at Birchfield Park, Goatstown, Dublin, pleaded not guilty of manslaughter but guilty of assault. The charge was that at The Stand Bar, The Square, Kanturk, he unlawfully killed Finbarr Lehane.

Imelda Kelly, prosecution barrister, said in her closing address to the jury that they could be satisfied that the blow struck by O’Sullivan was objectively dangerous and she urged them to review the CCTV of the incident.

“It is an objectively dangerous act to strike a blow to the face of another person without warning. Mr Lehane was immediately felled by that blow. It was unprovoked and without warning.”

Ms Kelly said it was clear from the evidence of state pathologist Margaret Bolster that the cause of death was complicated but Ms Kelly added, “I am not under obligation to prove the punch was the sole cause of death, I must show it was a real and substantial cause.”

Mary Rose Grearty defence senior counsel reminded the jury of how upset the accused was when he gave brief evidence where he stated that what happened had horrendous consequences for everybody. Ms Grearty SC said that obviously the most terrible consequences were for the late Mr Lehane and his relatives.

Ms Grearty said to the jury that the issue they had to decide was whether the blow struck by O’Sullivan was objectively dangerous.

“The single most important factor is, do you have a doubt about whether it was objectively dangerous? What force was used to strike the blow?

“It is not about feeling sorry for anybody, it is about considering how he met this and considering what he did and was there any strength in it at all. He left him without a mark. That must leave you at least with a reasonable doubt,” Ms Grearty SC said.

Dr Bolster agreed under cross-examination by Ms Grearty that she did not find a single mark to the face of the deceased when she examined it a fortnight after the incident in the bar. Dr Bolster also confirmed that medical notes on the late Mr Lehane’s admission on the night made no reference to any mark on his face.

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